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Automatic Emergency Brakes and Car Accidents

Ten major car manufacturers have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard features on new vehicles,the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced. But how will this change affect drivers and rates of car accident injuries?

Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Indiana

Automatic emergency braking systems are designed to prevent crashes. They use radar, cameras and lasers to detect that a crash is about to occur, give the driver a warning and then automatically engage the brakes. There is a wide variety of systems. Some work only at low speeds to prevent collisions at intersections, while some function at nearly highway speeds.

NHTSA: All Vehicles Have Automated Braking Systems

NHTSA worked with 10 major manufacturers to outline and commit to the voluntary measure of equipping all new vehicles with an automated braking system.The agency would like vehicle manufacturers and drivers to adopt an increasingly preventative model of accident reduction. Down the road, federal regulation may even require all automakers to include an automatic emergency braking system.

Indiana Car Accidents Involve Driver Error: Automated Braking

Since most car crashes involve driver error, automatic braking systems have enormous potential to reduce the number of collisions every year. NHTSA has found that in many collisions, drivers do not react in time to apply the brakes fully or at all. This is particularly true in rear-end collisions, which account for nearly a third of all car crashes.

Automated Systems have Quick Reaction Times

But unlike a human driver, automated systems are constantly on alert and have quick reaction times for applying the brakes: They are never distracted, intoxicated or sleepy. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has already reported that automatic braking systems could reduce total insurance claims by 35 percent. The IIHS has even expanded its testing facilities to measure the impact of this new technology.

The Limits of Automated Systems

This new measure is, however, not an end-all solution for reducing accidents. Cars may be getting more and more advanced, but drivers must still be both attentive and cautious behind the wheel.

Some experts even believe that automated braking is not yet ready for widespread adoption. They raise the issue of speed. If an automated braking system works only at 25 mph, what happens on the highway? A driver might trust the system so implicitly at low speeds that he or she might neglect to stay in the habit of checking for signs of an oncoming collision, even at higher speeds.

Any reduced driver attention can lead to sudden disaster. There is also the possibility that automated systems could be overly cautious. They occasionally mistake objects on the side of the road or parked cars as hazards, and apply the brakes unnecessarily, creating a hazard.

Indiana Driver Must Still Stay Alert When Driving Automated System

Even if automatic emergency braking systems become widespread in the years ahead, drivers must still stay alert when operating a vehicle. Machines and modern systems may be great tools for increasing safety, but they can’t do all the work. Drivers should utilize these automated braking systems, but not rely on them. They should still make sure to drive defensively, drive while well-rested and avoid driving distracted – the most common errors. The safest driver of all is one who relies on both his or her judgment and the vehicle’s safety features.